CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A win is a win, and for the University of Charleston men's basketball team, that has to be good enough.
Coach Mark Downey decided to accentuate the positives for his Golden Eagles, who claimed a hard-fought 71-69 West Virginia Conference victory over Glenville State on Monday night.
The Golden Eagles had to survive a rimmed-out 3-pointer by Kevin Gray at the buzzer to improve Downey's record against the Pioneers to 6-0.
"I'm trying to be positive," Downey said. "I'll still get in them when they make mistakes, but at this point of the season, when they make mistakes, before they even look over at me they'll know what they did. We didn't get good performances from a lot of the guys, but there were positives."
Charleston (17-7, 13-7 WVC) held a 65-54 lead with 4:26 left, but Glenville (11-14, 7-13) - which had lost seven of nine entering the game - regained a 3-point shooting touch that eluded it most of the game.
A 3-pointer by Gray with 3:10 left cut the lead to eight, and another by D.J. Blanks made it a 65-60 game. A Lamont Cole 3-pointer with 50 seconds left put the advantage at two points.
The Golden Eagles got the lead back to five, but after a Glenville basket, UC point guard Terrell Lipkins was called for a technical after tossing the ball to an opposing player.
"He pushed me first, so I threw the ball at him," said Lipkins, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals for his third double-double of the season. "The second guy always is the one who gets caught. That's what coach said."
Two Jamel Morris free throws cut the lead to one and a free throw by Evan Faulkner made it a two-point game. The Pioneers pushed the ball down the floor and found a wide-open Gray in the corner. Gray, the conference's leader in 3-pointers with 84 entering the game, saw his shot rim out as the buzzer sounded.
Xavier Humphrey, who was responsible for covering Gray, left him to help on dribble penetration and UC almost paid for it with a defeat.
"We told them, '24 (Jamel Morris) and 1 (Gray) are the shooters, don't leave them,'" Downey said. "X, even after we lost the championship last year (to West Liberty) by helping when we shouldn't have, a returner does it again. We have to be better than that."